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Irish flash extender startup goes 3D

Navigator and Pathfinder beget Aviator

Flash drive life extender NVMdurance has enlarged its market by developing techniques for extending the life of 3D flash drives.

Its current Pathfinder product is a suite of machine learning algorithms that can be applied to planar (2D) MLC (2bits/cell) and TLC (3bits/cell) flash to find the best way register values for NAND chips throughout their life cycle. The Navigator product runs on a flash drive controller and chooses which write register values to use at run-time, at each stage of the drive’s life, from those discovered by Pathfinder.

There can be more than 50 write registers in a drive, with values for start voltage, step size, MSB (most significant bit), LSB (least significant bit), odd, even, etc – and not all blocks of flash degrade at the same rate. Varying the register values can reflect this and extend the drive’s life, NVMdurance’s technology enabling a variable/adaptive ECC approach.

In effect, the way the flash is used changes, as its state – its condition or health – changes throughout its life cycle.

NVMdurance’s technology can extend the life of a flash drive 7 to 8 times beyond its intrinsic endurance when using factory-set parameters and up to 25 times longer with an 8-stage lifecycle, 120-bit ECC, and 19-10nm flash (1x). A PDF slide deck describes what goes on.

It has previously said its technology is extensible to 3D NAND, and NVMdurance has now launched its Aviator product. This complements the existing Navigator and Pathfinder products, and enables extended endurance for 3D NAND flash.


NVMdurance scheme

Aviator provides the tools, including LLR (Logging Last Resource) tables and error models, necessary to deploy 3D TLC NAND.

The company claims: “Aviator uses [our] proprietary machine learning technology to automate the process of characterising 3D NAND and provide the critical error management building blocks that require deep flash characterisation and the ability to optimise around customer usage conditions. Aviator can also help solution providers get to market faster and differentiate their products.”

The firm is hoping that SSD-makers get a pair of Aviator glasses and see how they can make their 3D flash drives last longer. ®


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